The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) supports the Press Council’s “STOP! Hate Speech” campaign launched on 16 October 2020. The aim of this campaign is to identify and respond to hate speech in online commentary during the 2020 local election campaign.
From 16 October to 16 November, the “STOP! Hate Speech” campaign aims to monitor and analyse user comments across 15 internet web portals in BiH.
“Hate speech, discriminatory and inciting rhetoric do not represent freedom of speech, but rather an abuse, which is subject to criminal liability. It is an editorial obligation to remove any such comment from a website, and in extreme cases co-operate with the police and prosecutors’ offices in order to determine the identity of persons abusing this freedom,” said Dzenana Burek, Executive Director of the Press Council in BiH.
Stressing the fact that hate speech increased on internet portals in recent years, Ambassador Kathleen Kavalec, Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH said: “It is important to unite our efforts and to combat spreading views that could nourish intolerance or spark conflict in local communities. We call upon all candidates, politicians and citizens to refrain from using offensive, divisive or humiliating language. Use of such language is reckless and dangerous.”